NAB League Girls Team of the Week - Round Seven
Queensland Talent Time: Round Seven saw a cameo by the Suns and Lions Academies, and each brought with them some standout players.
Friday’s clash between the Dandenong Stingrays and the Sandringham Dragons kicked off the seventh weekend of NAB League Girls footy. The Stingrays, who currently sit at the top of the table, overcame a slow start to defeat the Dragons by 20-points, 9.3 (57) to 5.7 (37).
Robinson, Eardley, and Blair were just some of the standouts for the Stingrays, while the Dragons had great service from Hurley and Coyne, as well as Stuber up forward. This result leaves the Dragons' finals chances hanging by a thread – while the Stingrays are left wondering how far they could go in 2022.
The Eastern Ranges took some time to shake off a relentless Gippsland Power outfit during their 27-point win, 5.6 (36) to 1.3 (9). In a match that most would have tipped to be very one-sided, the second-placed Ranges suffered a scare because, at halftime, just a goal separated them from the fourteenth placed Power.
Perhaps as a living embodiment of the pressure that the Power put on the Ranges, Alisha Molesworth laid 18 tackles – a season-high for 2022. Briss and Brisbane were also impressive for the Power, while the Ranges were thankful to have Granville and Stone on their side.
A Chloe Prpic goal midway through the final term was enough for the Calder Cannons to claim a thrilling come from behind win against the Tasmania Devils, 4.7 (31) to 4.3 (27). Sutton and Gaylor were just some of the standouts for the Cannons, while Ransom, Brazendale, and exciting young gun Barwick, were some of the Devils' best.
This Cannons’ win sees them continue their winning streak and sets up a mouth-watering clash with the Western Jets. The Devils on the other hand are at risk of slipping behind as the race for finals positions heats up.
As the race for a spot in the finals continues to heat up, the Geelong Falcons helped their chances of sneaking in with a 35-point win over the Greater Western Victoria Rebels, 9.9 (63) to 4.4 (28). The match was close, with the Falcons holding a 10-point lead at halftime, yet they stormed away with 5 goals to 1 in the third term.
Meier and Walton stand as some of the Rebels’ best afield, while the Falcons found great service through their standout ruck, Keeley Hardingham, as well as Stacey and Sunderland.
The Murray Bushrangers claimed a resounding win over the inaccurate Bendigo Pioneers, 6.9 (45) to 0.9 (9). Suffering from a slow start, the Pioneers shot themselves in the foot by kicking 0.4 (4) in the second term – allowing the Bushrangers to run away with the win.
Quade was influential up forward with 3 goals, while Goldsworthy and Mailer were also standouts for the Bushies. As for the Pioneers, Drew Ryan did her best to help spur a comeback, while young gun defender Lucia Painter continues to offer glimpses at her exciting potential.
Keeping their winning streak alive was the Western Jets, who defeated the visiting Brisbane Lions Academy, 4.14 (38) to 0.2 (2). Struggling to find the centre of the sticks – the Jets took a while to heat up, but when they did, Sargent was there to capitalise on it. The Jets now have a date with Calder – which is shaping up to be a season-defining clash for both sides.
As for the Lions, although they didn’t leave with a win, they certainly brought some exciting talent to Victoria’s footsteps. Charlie Mullins, Ella Smith, Ava Seton, and Kiara Hillier were just some of the promising names that the Lions exhibited from the Sunshine State – and we’ve certainly taken notice.
The Gold Coast Suns Academy came away with a hard-fought win over the Oakleigh Chargers, 4.5 (29) to 2.2 (14). It was a case of gun Queensland prospect meets gun Victorian prospect, with Gee and Fleming combining for 63 disposals between them.
Charlotte Taylor tried her best for the Chargers but ultimately, with the likes of Jasmyn Smith and Imogen Evans, the Suns just had too much talent to overcome.
Scroll down to see the Team of the Week, plus a small breakdown of the squad.
Captain: Alana Gee
Vice-Captain: Alisha Molesworth
Showing Victoria what the Sunshine State is capable of producing, Alana Gee went to work for the Gold Coast Suns. Collecting an unbeaten 34 touches, this super Suns’ prospect not only earns our title of Team of the Week captain, but we are certain that this performance has meant that she’s caught the attention of recruiters.
The vice-captaincy goes to a player who tried to do everything possible to help her side claim an upset win, with Gippsland’s Alisha Molesworth doing her absolute best – and collecting 18 tackles in the process.
A pair of Falcons call this week’s forward line home, with role-player Kara Stacey joining rising-star Leila Owens. Stacey was a strong performer, finishing with 2 goals from her 11 touches, while also managing to lay 4 tackles. Owens on the other hand had 2 goals from 14 disposals – and took 3 marks.
Full forward is home to Mindy Quade who, whenever she touched the footy, was a good chance to score. Kicking 3.2 from 9 touches, Quade was a valuable part of the Bushrangers – as were her 9 hit outs and 4 marks.
Centre-half-forward is home to Caitlin Sargent, who has grown into a key part of the Western Jets’ attack. Sargent holds her spot in the side on the back of a display that included 13 disposals, 4 marks, and 2 goals.
Tahlia Meier enjoyed one of the better displays of the weekend – despite the Rebels not getting the job done. This crafty small forward had 19 touches and kicked 3 straight goals, which makes it a definite highlight from a Rebels’ perspective.
Rounding out this week’s attack is our vice-captain, Alisha Molesworth. Molesworth was outstanding for Gippsland, finishing with an equal game-high total of 21 touches, while also setting a record for this season with 18 tackles.
Rucking duties fall to Geelong’s Keeley Hardingham, who dare we say is our pick for the best ruck in the competition – or at least a very close second. Hardingham was amazing for the Falcons on the weekend – having had 25 disposals, 13 hit-outs, 6 tackles, and a goal.
Named on-ball is Montana Ham, who routinely puts on great displays that we no doubt have caught the attention of recruiters. This week Ham had her usual high disposal count of 25, while also managing 10 tackles and 3 marks.
Our captain this week, from Queensland, is Alana Gee. Collecting a match-high total of 34 disposals, as well as managing to lay 5 tackles and take 4 marks – this Gold Coast Suns’ prospect was amazing on the weekend. The only bad part is that we won’t see her in the NAB League more often, however, we feel that she may one day return to Victoria, albeit as a part of a visiting AFLW side.
Calling the middle home, from Brisbane, is Ella Smith, who certainly tried her best against one of the NAB League’s finest sides. Smith had a team-high total of 22 touches, while also managing to rack up 8 tackles and 2 marks.
Named on the outside this week is Zarlie Goldsworthy, who has refused to let her high standards slip since joining the Bushrangers for her debut season. Goldsworthy has, as we keep saying, worth her weight in gold – and the weekend proved that once again as she had 27 touches, 14 tackles, and kicked a goal.
Oakleigh’s Jasmine Fleming finished with 29 touches and 10 tackles in what was another great outing by the promising Chargers’ performer. Averaging 25 touches and 5 tackles a game, at this point we just expect her to play great.
Centre-half-back is home to Dandenong’s Mackenzie Eardley, who has continued to be a consistent, and great, part of the ladder leader's defence. The weekend was perhaps one of her best games of the year as she collected 23 touches, 7 marks, 6 rebound 50s, and 4 tackles.
Eastern Ranges have found themselves a future star defender in the form of Laura Stone. The 16-year-old was a pillar in defence, best shown through her 20 touches, 5 rebound 50s, and 4 tackles.
From one exciting young defender to another, Bendigo’s Lucia Painter was a major highlight for the Pioneers on the weekend. Having had 21 touches, 11 rebound 50s and 6 tackles – this Pioneers prospect remains a player that is certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Alexei Guy – Toogood had what would best be described as a ‘great defender’s day’ for Gippsland. The promising defender had 14 touches, 8 tackles, and 6 rebound 50s.
Calder continues their winning ways but, in a side that has an even contribution across the board, it is hard to pick their standouts. However, Maree Stephenson, down back, was extremely strong. Having 12 touches, 6 rebound 50s and 4 tackles – a reliable defender is crucial in close matches like that.
Full back is home to Tasmania’s Amy Prokopiec. Arguably her best game of the 2022 season, this Devils’ defender collected 14 disposals, took 4 marks, laid 4 tackles and, most amazingly, was responsible for 10 rebound 50s.
The Western Jets' highly promising ruck, Krystal Russell, joins the side as our second ruck option. Continuing to make her name said amongst the best rucks in the league – Russell’s weekend display included 23 hit-outs, 13 touches, and 10 tackles.
Sandringham’s Sofia Hurley is unlucky not to be a starter this week but considering her tremendous talent, we are certain we will have another chance to make it up to her. Having 19 touches and 15 tackles on the weekend – Hurley just continues to play brilliantly week in week out.
Laura Roy put pressure on her opponents for the Brisbane Lions. The young Lion’s prospect was a highlight of her side’s cameo in the NAB League Girls competition as she collected 11 touches and, more impressively, laid a match-high total of 13 tackles.
Gold Coast’s Imogen Evans bolsters the Queensland representation in this week’s side. Evans did a little bit of everything; 22 touches, 5 tackles, 5 marks, and a goal. It was just a great well-rounded performance by the Sun.
Charlotte Mullins is one of the finest prospects of Queensland footy, and she showed that with her display for the Lions. Having had 20 touches and 7 tackles – it was simply a strong performance by the young gun.
Tasmanian young gun, Candice Belbin, rounds out our Round Seven MWM NAB League Girls Team of the Week. This Devils’ prospect had a solid outing, finishing with 10 touches and 9 tackles.
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Special thanks to all those who nominated players for our Team of the Week.